What People Who Aren’t Introverts Don’t Understand About Us…

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“Identify the people and activities that are most nourishing to you and put your greatest strengths into action and actively seek those out. If we try to compete on extrovert terms, we will always feel lesser. When we understand who we are, what we need and want, and what we do best, we can start succeeding on our own terms.” ~Sophia Dembling



This week, I’m going out on a limb. I’m writing something very different from what I would normally write. I’m baring all, and going raw in a way I haven’t done in several months.

Because I’m tired.

I’m tired of the world overwhelming me. And it has been a LOT lately.

I recently went on vacation, hoping I would come back and that overwhelm would be gone. In a way, it only provided more intense feelings about the life I really want, as opposed to some things I’m having to do right now I’d rather not be doing (like still working full time).

It brought to the forefront my need to really fully embrace the present moment mentality.

But the reality is – it’s necessary. Not only for my own personal growth and evolution (to learn lessons that still need to be learned in this season), but for financial reasons.

On any given day though, I look around my environments and wish to God someone knew what I was feeling – how the world feels to me. That maybe – just maybe, it feels different to me than it does to them. And they shouldn’t assume that I feel the same way about something they do.

That I’m also highly sensitive, so loud noises really really bother me at a cellular level. I can’t stand sudden loud surprises of any kind, including chronic complaining or negativity. That calling me out in front of someone else, whether online or otherwise, is the worst thing they could possibly do to me EVER. And that abrasively manipulating me creates an emotional storm they do not want to be in. It can last for months.

That I feel way more from those surrounding me than I care to sometimes – which is frustrating because then you get labeled as narcissistic – I mean….why would you not want to feel what others feel more often? Don’t all people wish they could be more empathetic? (The answer is no, by the way).

That every moment doesn’t need to be filled with conversation. Can we just “be” for 5 minutes? Everything doesn’t need to be pointed out – if it’s obvious, let it be.

How in any given moment, the colors I see are super vibrant – beyond what I think anyone else sees. Sometimes they are too much.

That any time of day, I’m likely processing hundreds of thoughts in a 5-minute time frame, while also trying to figure out how to fix each of them, whether I was asked to or not. 

That I fully understand the difference between aloneness and loneliness, but the emotions attached to both of those sometimes send mixed signals.

Music soothes me. Reading soothes me. Talking on the phone rarely soothes me – if I feel it’s a deep conversation where there’s truly sharing & listening going on, I’m more likely to want to engage in this way with another person – otherwise, I’m dreading it every time.

My spiritual life is what I cling to in the absolute toughest of times – there’s an identity I’ve found there that helps subside feelings of insignificance in the world I feel intensely otherwise.

Seeing the homeless, needy, or hurting is a pain I can’t usually express to others. And no, it doesn’t matter if they’re at fault or not – it’s irrelevant to my emotional draw to their pain. Completely irrelevant. I will feel it regardless. And I may even need to cry about it – until something helps the identification with their pain subside.

Confrontation is really something I dread – and will usually avoid at all costs. Why? Because my deep inner life is already so strong. Why would I want to add to that depth with disruption? If I get hurt in a scenario of words exchanges, I will likely feel it for days, weeks, or months after. Don’t ever assume what I’m wanting is to fight with you or have a confrontation – it’s quite the opposite, so please give me the benefit of the doubt.

My alone time is sacred – spiritual even. It’s where my proverbial batteries re-charge. It’s when everything on the surface, like hot lava, is allowed to penetrate beneath the surface of a seemingly rough terrain & exterior. 

I need support too. Introverts are notorious for drawing everyone and their problems – a lot. It is a great quality to have this depth people feel, but sometimes it’s just enough. It’s draining. We need support too – and sadly, there are few people who understand this about us. They think “support” is a quick 2 minutes of saying “I understand” repeatedly on the phone or nodding their head in agreement. That doesn’t feel like support very often – engaging in the conversation feels like support. For once, trying to feel what we feel instead of trying to “fix” us feels like support. Most people just simply aren’t up for the challenge. We know this – we continue to hope for those who are to come into our lives.

So we continue to roar within – seething with the infrequent emotional storms others see us as. When really, those moments are just us asking for support or saying we’ve temporarily had enough – you can trust when that happens, the storm has been roaring for some time.

All of this….

And I feel the world asking me on a day-to-day basis, “how strong can you be?”

Sometimes, I’ll be honest – I have no idea how to answer. 

How do you?

(Image Credit)


  • Mirjam
    May 27, 2014, 7:46 am  Reply

    Hello Tamisha,
    lovely written and very recognizable.
    I am not an introvert at all, but everything in this is about me too 🙂
    Thank you very much for describing these feelings,

    • May 28, 2014, 9:39 am

      You’re welcome, Mirjam. Interesting that you say you’re not an introvert because I think a majority of these “qualities” are really more in the highly sensitive realm. You might like to take the HSP test just for fun on hsperson.com and see how you rank there…

      Thank you for being here.


  • May 27, 2014, 8:38 am  Reply

    Great post Tamisha. I relate to your description of ‘abrasive manipulation’ and the resulting emotional storm. This is when I feel most misunderstood and the need to withdraw becomes paramount. Seems some individuals feel they have a right to backlash as a result of their supposed indignities. Sometimes it can be the most subtle of actions and other times the cruelest whip of words.

    • May 28, 2014, 9:43 am

      This is when I feel most misunderstood and the need to withdraw becomes paramount.

      Oh yes. I am loving that you mention that this is the time you feel most misunderstood, Susan. I completely agree. It can be a very frustrating thing, too.

      What you said:

      Sometimes it can be the most subtle of actions and other times the cruelest whip of words. This is really important because it’s some of what we talk about here in this community. A lot of people don’t recognize that they’re being passive aggressive. Those “subtle actions” you spoke of are passive aggressive actions. They are felt and seen by few, but nevertheless can and do feel extremely abrasive.

      I appreciate your thoughts on this today.


  • May 27, 2014, 10:27 am  Reply

    Wonderful post and thank you for sharing it. I can relate so well, and the feeling of overwhelm is string lately. I was just pondering how to help my children work through their own overwhelm, as it’s become very obvious now that they’re teen-agers, that they too have inherited this family tendency. It’s sensitivity, and the last thing I want is to make light if it or try to make them less sensitive. I’m still pondering this, and would love any ideas. One thing that has worked for me is to develop easy routines around necessary tasks like making dinner. The FLYlady’s housekeeping tips help so much too, as long as I only take the basics and leave the rest of her stuff. I’m really in need of setting up some of this type of thing around my business too, after a year of being “all in” I am so burned out now. I want to keep going, but at a slower pace and with my focus on life and home being primary. I also love this saying seen on an Apartment Therapy blog post of all places: “if you can’t get out of it, get into it”. Meaning, in a sense, enjoy the process. I think of this like the way I learned to make dinner for my family every night–put on some music, have some tea or wine, go slow and enjoy the process instead of dreading it. It helped so much! Maybe this idea would work for your FT job too? Not sure how, but somehow?

    • May 28, 2014, 9:50 am

      Hi Lisa! Oh, how I’m loving your input here. Don’t you know that JUST last night, I had Sade Radio playing in my kitchen while I cooked? I had promised someone dinner and didn’t really feel like making it, but I got in there & rolled up my sleeves to music and it helped a TON.

      I think it’s great that you’re noticing the sensitivity in your kids. That is something a lot of parents miss. I don’t think I can provide hands-on advice, as I’m not a Mother myself. However, what I would say in a more intangible way, is to stay curious. About their development, their environments, and how they’re taking it all in. Don’t leave curiosity alone through that process.

      That “enjoying the process” you spoke of is essentially being more fully present in the moment, which I’ve learned is one of the top laws of spirituality. It really does sound like you’re working through this time, and the only way to clarity is to move through any confusion or curious seasons, not try to avoid them or move around them.

      This was the golden statement I think for establishing priorities & managing energy:

      …develop easy routines around necessary tasks like making dinner.

      Always appreciate your words, Lisa. So good to have connected w/ you & have you in this community!


  • Allifos
    May 27, 2014, 11:42 am  Reply

    The part about confrontation, and “likely [to] feel it for days, weeks, or months after” is soooo me. I can’t let negative experiences like that go. And for most of my adult life I’ve been labeled as shy or standing-off; just that feeling that nobody gets me. I wish I had figured all of this before getting married and/or having kids-I may have made some different choices that would have been better for everyone. Thank you Tamisha, for giving us a place to open up and connect.

    • May 28, 2014, 9:55 am

      Hi Allifos,

      Thank you for your comment. And you’re VERY welcome.

      I think one thing important to distinguish is “unforgiveness” separate from “lingering emotions” too. Often, we may not be holding a grudge about something, but it just may take several days or weeks for what happened to truly penetrate and process.

      The seeming “shyness” or “standing off-ish-ness” is just our way, usually, of proccessing and allowing things to penetrate those layers of depth to us. There’s nothing wrong with that. Allow the process.

      I want to say too – we all are ever-evolving & growing, figuring out this life thing for ourselves. I believe things are revealed to us when they should be for that moment. I too, wish I had known ALL of these paradoxes and things about me when I was in previous relationships, but I didn’t. I have to accept that there’s a reason I didn’t know them then and am learning them now.

      Thanks so much for being here & connecting.

  • Patricia
    May 28, 2014, 2:48 pm  Reply

    Nice post Tamisha…thank you for barely your soul to us all.

    I got a chuckle out of “That every moment doesn’t need to be filled with conversation. Can we just “be” for 5 minutes? Everything doesn’t need to be pointed out – if it’s obvious, let it be.”

    My significant other and I go through this every time he visits. I often say to him, nicely of course, “Don’t you ever shut up?” He takes my question in stride, but it’s amazing to me how much he doesn’t understand my need for silence.

    Do you find it as overwhelming and anxiety-provoking as I do?

    • Allifos
      May 28, 2014, 5:49 pm

      I know exactly what you mean. I CAN’T STAND small talk!! If the only thing you can think of to say is about the weather, then don’t say anything! Silence is okay, and at times, preferable…it’s astonishing how many people don’t get that…

    • May 28, 2014, 6:07 pm

      Hi Patricia! You have me laughing now. LOL

      For me, I love to talk w/ people. It’s when I’m with someone who constantly points out obvious things or needs to “fill the void” with little small conversations that bothers me. A lot. And they usually take my silence as being “mad”, then I might get asked if I’m “okay.”

      I’ve learned that this is a normal interaction w/ someone who isn’t an introvert I must understand and try to work with. The patience there that I’ve learned to cultivate is just something that, to me, feels like a spiritual exercise. It’s there to teach me, grow me, and help me be more aware about my own personal development.

      I like to look at it as the frustration not being alleviated, but being placed into another perspective. There’s something about that stance that feels mature and freeing to me.

      Try it and see what happens.


  • Shannon McArthur
    May 29, 2014, 9:30 am  Reply

    I love coming late sometimes. Especially to something like this because I see such wisdom all laid out for me to contemplate and appreciate! Tamisha, thank you for this! The window you’ve given into the soul of an introvert provides to an extrovert, like me, a more complete picture of what I’ve been told in bits and pieces, now and then, by many shy quiet people that I’ve been privileged to get to know. It’s important to me that you, and people like you, feel respected and encouraged and safe when you interact with us louder ones… I feel I am, personally, a mixture of both, as daughter of a top realtor and a lovely sensitive father, who wasn’t there much (wonder why – not really!) Lots of love but I learned to brash up my act and do the Pollyanna thing to survive. As I mature, I’m learning to be easy, be quiet, just be… Blessed be…

    • May 29, 2014, 1:38 pm

      Hi Shannon. What a sweet note! I’m SO appreciative of your comment because I think it’s important for us to know that there are many extroverts out there like you who do want healthy relationships with introverts and actually respect the personalities of introverts & shy introverts.

      I will always defer to the positive realm of “we draw to ourselves how we treat others” and “not all extroverts want to change who we are.” I think you’ve gorgeously illustrated that here with your input, and I’m very appreciative. It’s important we can appreciate each other’s traits – I certainly have extroverted friends I love being around because of that openness and how they derive their energy from our interactions.

      What a gorgeous viewpoint. Thank you.


  • May 30, 2014, 3:56 pm  Reply

    I an relate to almost all of this, on some level. Not only do others often not have the ability to see the “real”us, but it is exhausting sometimes to have to try and pretend it’s okay all the time. Nothing makes me feel more at peace than to be able to recharge, not have to be “on” all the time, and especially to have people understand that. Great post!

    • May 30, 2014, 4:25 pm

      Thank you, Terri. SO glad you’re here & for your input.

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